2017-11-22 / Features

HEAP Makes Home Heating Bills More Affordable

BY NYS ASSEMBLY MEMBER ARAVELLA SIMOTAS

Autumn may have blessed us with extra sunshine and warmer-than-average temperatures this year, but that doesn’t mean that winter is going to be as kind. As New Yorkers, we’re all too familiar with harsh winter weather and the high heating bills that come with it. Fortunately, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) can help cover those costs.

HEAP, a federally funded program, provides financial assistance to both renters and homeowners and can be used to help cover the costs of electricity, propane, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene, coal or other heating fuels. Eligible families can also apply for funds to help pay for home heating equipment and repairs.

Eligibility for HEAP relies on a number of factors, including income, household size, primary heating source and whether a member of the household is under the age of 6, over the age of 60 or permanently disabled. For the upcoming winter, a family of four that has a household income of up to $4,457 a month may qualify for help. Applications are now being accepted, and please note that assistance is granted on a first-come, first-served basis. This year, households can receive up to $726 in assistance. An extra emergency payment is also available to households that are out of fuel or going to have their service shut off. Applications for an emergency benefit open on January 2, 2018.

Time and again, HEAP has proven to be a critical lifeline with about 1.4 million New Yorkers receiving assistance last year.

For more information regarding HEAP benefits in New York City, call 800-692-0557 or apply online: www.ny.gov/services/apply-heap or contact the Central Astoria LDC at 718-228- 7820 and one of their housing advisors will help you.

No one should be without heat in the winter or be forced to choose between heat and other necessities. I encourage anyone who needs assistance to apply for HEAP. As always, please feel free to contact me with questions about this or any community issue at: 718-545-3889 or simotasa@nyassembly.gov.

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